Easter Sunday, 2015
There are some things in life that defy explanation. Some things that we experience that leave us speechless.
Words cannot describe what we experience.
You know, some of those “you had to see it to believe it” or “you had to BE there” situations.
I think that is what we are experiencing here in today’s Gospel lesson about the Resurrection. The women are speechless. Terrified. In awe.
And they depart saying nothing to anyone out of terror and amazement, Mark tells us.
Let’s remember that these are no ordinary women – these are ones that Mark tells us have been with Jesus and his ministry for quite some time.
And they are there to witness the crucifixion.
Contrast that to what Mark says about the 12: “And they all forsook him, and fled”
In the previous chapter, describing the Crucifixion we read:
There were also women looking on from afar, among who were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome, who, when he was in Galilee, followed Jesus, and ministered to him; and also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.
After Jesus death and Joseph of Arimethea putting the body in the tomb, we read: Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.
They come to the tomb expecting to anoint the body. They wonder who will roll away the stone that Joseph and others had placed over the tomb.
What they see and experience is life changing. They are speechless.
The young man says, in affect:
You’re looking for Jesus. He just left!
The women come expecting one thing. Perhaps they have done this before, they know about death. They know about grief. They have anointed other bodies for burial.
But this? Not dead but alive? And nowhere to be found?
We are able to speak about things that we expect. We understand tragedy. We know loss. We are overcome with grief. Like it or not, it is a part of our human experience. Everyone goes through it.
Resurrection changes everything.
It shatters the order of the universe. It makes all our preconceived notions about how life and nature and humanity work seem out of order.
We can’t make sense of it. And so, we are dumbfounded- speechless.
It might have been easier if Jesus had stuck around. Like he does in other gospel stories, but not here in Mark.
This gospel that is filled with words like immediately and moves at such a fast pace – until the Passion which we read last Sunday – picks up its quickening pace now that Jesus is raised.
Jesus is on the road again, on the move. The ministry must continue. He’s headed to Galilee to meet them there.
Jesus did not stick around to have coffee and conversation about what all this means.
Easter is not about throwing a party – it is about motion. It is about catching up with Jesus.
There is work to do.
Now that Resurrection has occurred, now that everything has changed, there is work.
A dying world is in need of this new grace, this new life, this new existence.
The Risen Jesus does not hang around a tomb he no longer needs just to greet his friends and have a celebration.
HE IS ON THE MOVE
Are we at all like the women in the story? We come with certain expectations about life?
What do we expect to happen this day? Who will roll the stone away for us?
We yearn for something deeper, something spiritual. We hope that we might encounter the Risen Jesus.
What happens if do no not see him? What happens if we do not feel his presence this day? If we only encounter a not-so-young –man saying to us:
You are looking for Jesus? He just left!
Will we run away in fear?
Or perhaps non-chalantly say:
Oh well. Another Easter. At least the flowers looked nice and everyone was friendly?
Will we be silent? Will we tell no one that he is Risen from the dead?
Hear the words of the young man from the story, once more.
Do not be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He HAS BEEN RAISED and is not here. Go and tell his disciples (in fact the whole world) that he is going ahead of you. Going ahead of you.
THAT is where we encounter the Risen Jesus. Ahead of us.
Just as surely as he is here in this gathered community today, in the Body and Blood, the Bread and Wine,
in the same way, he goes before us, out there, into the world, into those dark and lonely places.
Out there, where fear and injustice and hatred are found
Out there, where people are confused about what it means to follow Christ and call ourselves Christians.
where God sends us.
Jesus is out there. For Jesus is our future, as well as our present.
No longer need we fear.
No longer need we go aimlessly searching for him. He is risen and finds us in our homes and workplaces.
He is risen and finds us in the hospital rooms and the unemployment line.
He is risen and walks with us through all the situations of life.
Christ is Risen! Henceforth never death or hell shall us enthrall.
We are Christ’s, in him forever we have triumphed over all.
All the doubting and dejection of our trembling hearts have ceased;
Hail the day of resurrection! Let us rise and keep the feast.
Christ is Risen! Alleluia! Risen our victorious head!
Sing his praises! Alleluia! Christ is Risen from the dead!